As seen on CHCH Morning Live on May 2, I share some of my top Mother’s Day tech gift ideas.
I had a chance to stand in line for Uncle Tetsu’s famous Japanese cheesecake in their recently opened Toronto location at Bay and Dundas streets.
Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, City’s digital media correspondent has the latest technology your man cave needs to be the best place to enjoy the game.
What does it take to host the perfect The Bachelorette TV night? We asked Cityline host Tracy Moore, City digital media correspondent Winston Sih and Chatelaine food director Claire Tansey for their hosting tips, including the best ways to use your NextBox PVR to create the ultimate premiere watching party!
How would you incorporate the rose into your night?
TM: Receiving a rose is the ultimate goal for each contestant as they battle it out for Andi’s heart. So, it should definitely be the focal point of the evening. Channel Chris Harrison by greeting each guest with a red rose, or fill your home with rose-scented potpourri to set the romantic mood. Fresh flowers can be expensive, so seek out fake roses from your local craft store – this way your guests can leave with wilt-free keepsakes.
WS: Incorporate the rose into your e-vite. Just as Andi will offer the rose to her men of choice, you too will offer it to your preferred premiere viewing attendees! There are many free online programs that let you create your own personalized rose e-vites, and Some Ecards already has pretty hilarious options too.
How do you use your tablet or TV to prepare for, and enjoy, the main event?
TM: Set a romantic, cheesy mood by recording romantic movies using your NextBox or search the classics On Demand (Ch. 100). Play a film in the background while everyone’s getting settled or play a music channel for ambiance.
CT: As a foodie, I’m always seeking out the latest recipe inspiration. You can use the search tool on your TV or tablet and enter keywords such as “cooking” and “baking” for shows that may appeal. I set a bunch of my recordings this way so I’ll have a personal library of shows to check out when I have the time.
WS: Use your tablet to follow fellow fans’ reactions as each contestant is revealed. Seek out Bachelor/ette alumni on Twitter like @AliFedotowsky, @EmilyMaynard or even @JuanPaGalavis! Make sure you’re following the popular hashtags and share hilarious updates and trends with your guests … during the commercials of course!
How do you create your dream guest list? Who would you invite and why?
TM: First and foremost, determine which friends are The Bachelorette lovers – no need to have negative guests who may question this “unconventional” way to find love. In a dream world, I would suggest inviting old contestants to provide their thoughts and insights, and of course, Chris Harrison for a personal debrief after the show, and to dish out all the inside scoop! What happens when the cameras aren’t rolling?!
CT: I think the guest list is up to each individual host/hostess, but for me I would truly appreciate the attendance of not only my hilarious friends, but also my favourite female wits. I envision Nora Ephron, Tina Fey and Gertrude Stein all sitting on my couch snacking on my spicy Georgia pecans and providing their two cents.
WS: I’m with Tracy on this one; I’d love to have past contestants in attendance!
What’s your essential viewing party etiquette?
TM: Premiere night may get quite loud, with excited squeals, cat calling, laughter and maybe even some booing for the soon-to-be villains, as your guests ‘meet’ The Bachelorette contestants. To ensure nothing is missed, develop a fun set of rules for when your guests can chime in during the show, you can even write them on post-it notes as reminder.
CT: The evening is all about being social – so serve your guests appetizers, not dinner, so they can mix and mingle with ease. Why don’t you serve snack food with a southern flare, in honour of Andi’s hometown of Atlanta? Might I suggest spicy Georgia pecans – they’re easy to make, delicious and as a bonus they won’t cause any damage if thrown at your TV screen!
WS: As Tracy said, your evening may get rowdy so be sure to ask your guests to keep it down during times of high-stress and drama! However, if this seems like an impossible ask (probably – let’s be honest), this is where Rogers Anyplace TV Home Edition comes in handy. Your friends may think they have control over the remote, but you can pull up your virtual remote on your tablet to pause and rewind the TV without them even noticing. Also, as a host it’s good etiquette to provide your guests with your Wi-Fi password, so they too can follow along on social media.
How should the evening end?
TM: Once your guests catch their breath after meeting all of the eligible bachelors, invite them to fill out a prediction card. Choose a prize for the person who correctly picks Andi’s future man – a “fantasy date” for two? Or a gift card to the salon to prep hair for a hot date?
CT: Just as Andi had to make tough choices during the premiere, you too can replicate the rose ceremony drama at home and trick your guests into thinking that not everyone will receive a rose-frosted cupcake from you before they leave.
WS: At the end of the episode, while everyone’s nibbling away at their treats, you may want to replay a certain scene. Without interrupting your TV experience, use your tablet again to navigate back to the must-see moments.
Want to share the snark? www.citytv.com/toronto/shows/the-bachelorette will host live chats throughout the season. You can also download the app for online chat and fun facts about the show and the contestants.
The Bachelorette with my friends’ running commentary is my weekly TV ritual, one that my friends are invited to take part in each Monday night. Tweet a photo @RogersBuzz sharing your TV ritual using #RTVNight and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a NextBox set-up and Samsung tablet.
Repost from Rogers Redboard
Apple iPad mini, starting from $329.99, at Apple retailers or Apple.ca
Ideal for: Whiz kids who want the newest tech toy to working professionals who need to stay on top of emails. The small form-factor (it has a 7.9-inch [20-centimetre] screen) allows you to handily carry the device while the screen is large enough for easy readability.
What we love: It has optional cellular connectivity. You can reach up to lightning-LTE speeds, all without a contract or long-term commitment from the wireless carrier – just pay what you use.
Breakthrough features: This tablet is Apple’s smallest – measuring 23-per-cent thinner and 53-per-cent lighter than Apple’s iPad 3, and can fit in the palm of your hand.
What’s disappointing: With Apple focusing on keeping it affordable, the mini lacks a high-resolution retina display, a regular feature on other tablets like the recently announced Google Nexus 10.
Canon EOS M camera, starting at $829.99, at Canon-authorized sellers
Ideal for: Budding videographers and photographers in your life – novice to professional.
What we love: The mirrorless technology gives you the stunning image quality of a DSLR camera with the convenience of a point-and-shoot, minus the bulk. Plus, the APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor makes it a lightweight to tote.
Breakthrough features: With the new stepper motor built into the lenses (they’re included) the Spielberg in your family can capture HD movies in 1080p. The autofocus setting means you can simply hit a button and record up to 44 minutes of HD footage on a 16GB SD card. Now you’ll never miss another birthday or graduation.
What’s disappointing: Theabsence of traditional, standard digital camera features like a viewfinder and built-in flash; you have to carry a separate flash unit (included in the kit).
Sony VAIO T13 with Windows 8, $899, at most electronics retailers.
Ideal for: Those who thrive on processor power and need a machine that can take some abuse (it’s made out of durable aluminum and magnesium construction), all with an affordable price tag.
What we love: You can experience Windows 8 in all its speedy glory. Its elegant build, excellent battery and moderate price point makes this computer an overall mid-range laptop.
Breakthrough features: It comes equipped with all the bells and whistles like a full HDMI port, Windows 8 and a generously spaced keyboard. The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures and allows you to scroll and pinch-and-zoom photos.
What’s disappointing: This computer measures heavier (1.5 kilograms) than rival computers in its category. The keyboard isn’t backlit and the fan can be intrusive.
Samsung GALAXY Note II, $599.99 no term, at major wireless carriers.
Ideal for: The consummate traveller who needs a mobile office. It’s only 5.5 inches [14 centimetres], eliminating the need for both a smartphone and a tablet computer.
What we love: It’s a smartphone/tablet hybrid with a large, vibrant HD Super AMOLED 5.5-inch screen giving you quality and quantity. The included S-Pen allows you to be creative: draw fun pictures and take notes on the large screen.
Breakthrough features: While other phones have similar motion-gesture features, Samsung has perfected it to integrate directly with the operating system making it easier to use: silence calls when the phone is flipped over, and just shake to connect to Bluetooth.
What’s disappointing: The larger screen may be a tight squeeze for your pocket or your clutch. LTE data is battery-intensive, so turn it off when not in use.
BlackBerry PlayBook 4G LTE, $549.99 no-term, at major wireless carriers.
Ideal for: The workaholic who can leave his or her laptop behind, but still have access to email, media and productivity tools like Microsoft Office via Documents To Go, or the teen who doesn’t like waiting for movies to load before watching them.
What we love: It’s the size of an e-reader, but offers more features such as 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, a wide-selection of apps from Blackberry App World, two 1080p HD cameras and HDMI. It also brings the BBM service to a bigger, tablet-sized screen.
Breakthrough features: The BlackBerry Bridge app allows you to switch between your BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook – giving you access to a larger screen. wide-selection of apps from Blackberry App World, two 1080p HD cameras and HDMI. It also brings the BBM service to a bigger, tablet-sized screen.
What’s disappointing: It’s designed to work with a BlackBerry smartphone via the BlackBerry Bridge application. iPhone or Android users may not appreciate the unified BlackBerry experience.
Kobo Arc, $199.99, at Indigo.
Ideal for: The literary aficionado or student who doesn’t want to tote around a dozen books at a time.
What we love: Kobo has one of the largest e-bookstores (access to over three million e-books — one million of which are free!). Its dual-core processor allows you to turn pages without lag, smoothly surf the web and speedily check your emails.
Breakthrough features: It’s not just your personal library. It allows you access to movies, music, apps and games — all in colour, and lighter than a traditional computer.
What’s disappointing: While it hasadditional tablet capabilities (load apps, music and movies), this shortens the battery life.
Sharp 60-inch LE845 TV, $2,699.99, at most electronics retailers
Ideal for: Families making the big upgrade for the family den, or a new toy for Dad’s man cave.
What we love: This sleek LED TV features Sharp’s Quattron four-colour technology, including a full 3D-2D conversion experience. The 240Hz edge-lit LED panel means your TV will deliver a natural and vibrant picture.
Breakthrough features: SmartCentral, Sharp’s link between TV and the Internet. Through Wi-Fi, you can download and access some of your favourite social apps or surf the web – all from the comfort of your own remote control.
What’s disappointing: The steep $2,699.99 price tag.